The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy will constitute the most significant sporting competition in France over the next 12 months. Furthermore, the Normandie 2014 edition is stretching far beyond a purely sporting context. Indeed it is billed as the great celebration of the horse through a highlighting and embellishing of its history, its culture and its influence, prior to and during the World Equestrian Games, thanks to a vast programme of entertainment. Its main theme: a journey through time, the continents and the imagination. We give you the low-down:
Around the World in 80 horses – Jean-Louis Gouraud, a writer and specialist on the equestrian world, awarded the Renaudot paperback prize in 2013, has been asked by the event’s organisers to take up his pen and recount the history of the horse and its relationship with Man since the beginning of humanity in 80 short stories. “These stories are designed for all kinds of audiences, fans of riding and novices, the young and the not so young, he explains. Eighty stories and anecdotes, many of which are little-known, which give an insight into the place that the horse has always occupied, and still occupies, in our life and our culture. And that has been the case since the dawn of time across all the continents of the world.”
Since July these stories have been appearing in the style of a serial within the columns of the French daily newspaper Ouest-France at the rate of one ‘episode’ a week, every Saturday. Since the end of November, these tales have also begun a ‘voyage’ across Normandy, printed out on billboards exhibited month after month in ten of the region’s special sites. The first of these ten billboards was installed on Saturday 30 November at Place Saint-Sauveur in Caen. The next, in December, will be the follow-up to this in the town of Deauville. The exhibition is financed by the Sustainable Development and Innovation fund2…
The opening ceremony. On Saturday 23 August 2014, the opening ceremony will introduce this Around the World in 80 horses project in its own unique way, in front of 20,000 spectators in the Ornano stadium in Caen. Following on from the procession of delegations, no fewer than 300 artists, of which around a hundred will be riders, will succeed one another throughout three acts: Wandering the World, Land of Encounters and Adventures at a Gallop. The show has been entrusted to the French group Skertzo1, which will be offering some brand new genres of performance, which use monumental 3D screenings combining the performing arts and high technology. Its director, Hélène Richard, explains: “In three acts and around thirty scenes, we’re going to show that all bridleways lead to Caen. The traveller traverses the world on horseback to get to Normandy. On the return journey, at the end of the event, he or she is enriched by a great many values and encounters. The horse will be the main protagonist in the show.”
Tickets for the opening ceremony will go on sale from 4 December 2013 at 15:00 pm on the website of the event.
On 23 August 2014 – Ornano stadium in Caen will be the venue from 2030 hours
The first 2014 places will go for €28 (no additional reduction for the under 12s)
Category 2: €48 (€28 for the under 12s)
Category 1: €76 (€38 for the under 12s)
The Equestrian Games village. Organised in the Parc des Expositions in Caen, this will be the spot to be during the World Equestrian Games, both for the spectators, before and/ or after the competitions, and for those visitors who aren’t fans of competitions. Open everyday (except 1 September) from 23 August to 7 September 2014, it too will resound with the lively rhythm of Around the World in 80 horses.
A wealth of entertainment has been devised by the organisers in a bid to live up to the expectations of connoisseurs and those who are just curious, children and adults alike, as well as sports fans and audiences eager for culture and new discoveries. Laurence Philippot-Reulet, head of entertainment within the Organisation Committee, explains: “The village will open everyday with one of the stories from Around the World. The children will be able to take part in a beginners’ course in one of the various riding activities, in the different equestrian cultures, as well as having their first ride on a pony or a go at vaulting. Open stables will be installed enabling the public to get up close to the horses and even touch them. The village’s two sand footing areas, one rectangular, the other smaller and round, will serve as the backdrop for a series of artistic displays, skills demonstrations and showcasing of the different disciplines from the universe of Around the World in 80 horses, not all of which will be equestrian. Here the battles of times gone by will be brought back to life and humour will also play a large part in the festivities thanks to a programme of mini-shows and wanderings.”
A host of other attractions will also be on offer with, most notably, a presentation of Normandy from every angle by the partner organisations, as well as an exploration into the professions that form part of the Norman equine network in what is France’s primary horse region.
The Alltech Music Festival. A programme of entertainment wouldn’t be complete without a top-class musical line-up. Alltech, title partner to the Norman event, has chosen to sponsor a veritable festival where some twenty to twenty-five bands will take it turns on the main stage set up in the midst of the village. Its scheduling has been entrusted to the Arts Attack!3 association. Its director, Christophe Moulin, explains: “We’ve taken the decision to mix up all the different genres of music so as to satisfy a very broad, family-based audience: country, blues, pop, French songs… Taking the stage one after the other will be regional artists who top the bill on a national and international level.”
Methods for accessing the village: Entry will be free for those with tickets or a pass for the competition, otherwise it will cost €5 (the village will be closed on 1 September).
The concerts will take place in the evenings.
1Skertzo: Hailing from the world of theatre and image, Skertzo’s directors, Hélène Richard and Jean-Michel Quesne are nicknamed ‘the dream masters’. They have revolutionised the traditional ‘son et lumière’ display, by calling upon more advanced digital technologies and have been able to put on a number of unique creations both in France and around the world. Some of their most notable work includes Les chevaux du Stade in 2004, the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) in Lyon and a host of other meetings in towns, stadiums and public monuments…
2This exhibition, inscribed in the dynamic of the regional project ‘Elan des Jeux’, is financed by the “Sustainable Development and Innovation” fund of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. This fund, provided by the event’s private partners, is devoted entirely to the financing of actions that bring value to the event in the economic and tourist domains.
3ArtsAttack! has laid up the bet of thrilling the City of Caen and the Lower Normandy region, relying on its wealth of artists and the expectations of its inhabitants, by organising a series of major events to bring the audience together. ArtsAttack! has demonstrated its ability to rally together local energies to offer ‘characterful events’, open to the greatest number of people. The City of Caenhas renewed its trust in the Arts Attack! Association by entrusting it with the management of the Cargö and the Nördik Impakt festival through until 2017!